Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, has revealed that he turned down 17 honorary degrees offered him when he was Lagos State governor between 2007 and 2015.
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In a statement by Hakeem Bello, his Special Adviser on Communications, he said this when the Committee of Vice-Chancellors/Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities paid him a courtesy visit.
Fashola decried the abuse of honorary degrees by universities in the country, saying he had to stop the award by the Lagos State University.
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He said he insisted that the awards be conferred on awardees based on merit and not because they occupy political offices.
“We said, look we are going to be different and for two or three years we did not award any Honorary Degree because truly the idea of Honorary Degree is an important building block of society and once we throw those blocks away or make them unviable then the purpose for it is lost,” the statement quoted him to have said.
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“In my eight years in office I had 17 offers and I didn’t take one. I told them to wait until when I was out of office and if they still find me worthy they should then come. And when I was out of office only one came back.
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“The point I want to make is that we have to encourage our children to work hard. What have these honorees of the universities done to deserve the honour? What of those who have become undeserving, will you go back and tell them to return the degrees, that they don’t deserve it anymore?”